A party invite last weekend had me worried for two reasons. An Irish Kayleigh would be the evening’s entertainment, and that could only mean dreaded audience participation, with the venue being Derby’s Conservative Club. Yes I know 😯 I’d love to brashly announce that I’d never set foot anywhere near the dreadful club before, but I have, once. My first ever flat in Derby actually backed onto the Conservative Club and my newly acquired kitten decided to go walk-about one day. It’s debatable what I’m most ashamed of; walking around the Conservative Club or walking around the Conservative Club shouting for my kitten… Called Gerkin 🙄 It seemed like a fun name at the time.
So, on with the party. It was doomed from the start to be fair. After being told by a friend (Raymond!!!) that it was a joint birthday party, we marched into the club with appropriate card & present. ‘Happy birthday,’ I announced, while giving the birthday girl a hug. ‘It’s our wedding anniversary…’ We retreated to the safety of the bar and ordered drinks. Our alcoholic present was reasonably unisex, but the ‘birthday’ card would need some serious alterations!!! So as the violins kicked in and the seats around us began to empty, we scribbled a few appropriate comments onto our birthday/anniversary gifts.
By the time the buffet break was announced I’d thankfully managed to deflect all offers to join in with the Kayleigh fun & games. After the break however, the offers began to get a little more forceful. ‘Come on, it’s only a bit of fun,’ – ‘it’ll be a laugh,’ – ‘it’s really easy,’ – ‘just one dance…’ The persistence finally paid off. Resistance was futile. So eventually I dragged my sober self (yes I wasn’t even drinking!!!) onto the dance-floor. I joined my line and listened intently to the dance instructions. Most of these remained in my brain for a mere nano-second. The rest I simply didn’t understand. The words hop-step & heel-toe were met with reassuring nods from my fellow dancers. I however, was beginning to think that the Kayleigh caller was actually speaking in Gaelic. 😯 Even a rehearsed walk-through of the seemingly simple dance made no sense… The fiddles started, and what followed was 10 minutes of controlled carnage. I knew where I needed to be (mostly), I just had my own ‘unique’ way of getting from A to B, and I’m pretty confident it didn’t involve many hop-steps or heel-toes!!! It was spectacularly messy, but thankfully our fellow dancers didn’t seem to mind. A few instructions were thrown our way and occasionally we’d be gently herded into the correct position, but on the whole everybody just happily accepted how shite we were. Well I say ‘we’; Tracy was just the poor sod who I was dragging across the dance-floor!!! Our dance, whatever it was called, finished and we all trooped back to our seats. If only it had ended there…
‘Come on, it’s the final dance. We need as many people as we can…’ And so within a matter of minutes my dazzling dancing shoes were once more making their way to the dance-floor. Only this time, some of my fellow dancers (well 2 to be precise) would be less than impressed at my piss-poor attempts at mastering their beloved Kayleigh. Mr & Mrs Riverdance stood eagerly (a little too eagerly if you ask me) with their arms aloft, hoping to entice two more dancers to their line. Six were needed and they were two short. They actually looked rather pleased when Tracy & I strolled up. If only they knew. Oh if only they knew 🙄 Just as before, the jiggy little dance had to be explained, and if I thought that the previous dance had been complicated, I was very much mistaken. I can’t even begin to explain how intricate this final show-stopper was, it would take Venn diagrams, mathematical equations and graphs that are way too complex for my simple brain. Even some of the die-hard Kayleigh experts around us were exchanging looks. Not so, Mr & Mrs Riverdance. This was clearly elementary stuff for our professional Kayleigh dancers and they were chomping at the bit. Let the dancing commence…
The music started and Mr & Mrs Riverdance sprang into action. Tracy and I instantly went wrong. We then attempted the ‘weave’ section of our routine (it probably has another name?) and made the inexcusable mistake of ‘weaving’ the wrong way. Our ‘arch’ was in the wrong place, our spins were the wrong way, our ‘man/woman’ positioning was wrong, and I don’t think we even attempted the ‘back to back’ section. Mr & Mrs Riverdance were astonished, and this was only the first round. We had to repeat this fiasco God knows how many times. It didn’t get any better, but unlike our previous dance, our fellow dancers were non too impressed. Our line of six was messing up big time and for two people this was clearly unexceptionable. Mr & Mrs Riverdance were not about to have their beloved Kayleigh ruined by a complete imbecile who couldn’t dance. Our next round of weaves, arches, twists, turns and kicks (did I mention the kicks?) was met with barked instructions and forceful shoves across the dance-floor. I was non too pleased and my ‘dancing’ improved not a jot. The barking and shoving intensified by rounds three and four, and I was on the verge of simply walking off the dance-floor. Conscious that this stupid little dance would simply collapse like a house of cards if I walked away, I kept plodding through the routine, with all the enthusiasm & charisma of a Tory back-bench MP. Whatever sense of fun I had, had long since disappeared. I was annoyed (very) and that doesn’t happen to mild mannered Steve very often, but ruining the dance for everyone else would not be fair. Unfortunately the forceful instructions and man-handling had now moved onto Tracy too. Mr & Mrs Riverdance were clearly seething. Their barked instructions had now reached desperate levels, and our Kayleigh (if indeed it could still be called one?) was possibly one of the most joyless, angriest and chaotic Kayleighs ever witnessed. The end could not come soon enough, and while everyone else clapped and embraced, Tracy and I stoically marched back to our seats. We were both fuming by this point.
Back at the bar, Tracy relayed the whole shambolic episode to our stunned friends, while mild mannered Steve marched across the dance-floor to give Mr & Mrs Riverdance a piece of his mind… I apologised for not being a professional riverdance expert and congratulated the pair on their excellent teaching skills. Or words to that effect… The couple seemed strangely surprised to hear that we’d not enjoyed our little jig on the dance-floor, but I’d said my piece and that was that.
And the moral… Well that’s simple. Conservative Clubs are nasty evil places, that must be avoided at all cost.